It’s so easy to slip into a “what have you done for me lately” attitude when you are married with kids. Everyone’s doing something, being busy, needing to go here or there, the house needs to be vacuumed, people have to eat, yard work looms, etc. But getting stuck in a “poor me” mindset is a quick way to turn parenting and marriage into a self-imposed prison.
Your attitude about your spouse is what matters if you want to be treated well. Yes, I said “your” attitude. This isn’t a woman thing or a man thing – it matters for both people in the relationship. The side effects of whatever you do with each other, good or bad, eventually trickle down to the children. It all counts for the whole family. Let’s presume that you are with a decent person, not abusive, not addicted to drugs, etc. If that’s your situation, then you have a different problem and these suggestions will not help much.
When you start with a “poor me” thought, you start indulging yourself. I’m always the only one getting stuff done around here, he/she doesn’t care if I get to relax, I never get a compliment from my husband/wife, etc. Now if you are with that decent person, chances are this is somewhat of an exaggeration. Hint – anytime you find yourself using the words “always” and “never”, beware of a pity party. Maybe your husband really has never picked up his dirty socks. But most likely, those are red flags for feeling sorry for yourself.
First of all, being all sorry for yourself is not attractive to your mate. Second, you are more likely to take any compliment or casual comment from your mate in the wrong way when you think like this. They can’t win either way. And the more you keep thinking this way, the more you may continue seeing your life at home like this. By snapping at your partner or giving the silent sufferer treatment, you get to hold all the brooding
Really, this isn’t a fun way to go through life with another person. If you feel tasks are somewhat unbalanced, just say something in a neutral calm way. Maybe it’s time you delegate some work to the kids, reshuffle some priorities, get some different tools to make tasks quicker. Or if you think you’ve just been unreasonably moody about it, say that too. Being honest and clear about it can bring you closer. Keeping all that emotional power will drive you apart.
Another way to help with a “poor me” attitude is to see your activities as blessings and gifts to your family. When you associate a loving giving attitude, it doesn’t seem so much like a hateful burden. You are giving your time to do things for your family so they can be ready for the day and enjoy their life. Don’t forget that you get the benefit of wearing clean clothes, using your freshly mowed lawn, and sharing your well-kept home with friends. Your efforts bless and help everyone, but a resentful mood robs you of the experience.
When you do your mundane tasks with a grateful heart, think of what your kids are learning. They discover that their attitude matters a lot more than discomfort or boredom. They can discover how their helpful behaviors around the house really matter to everyone. They can grow up feeling more empowered to make a good life for themselves, and how to handle it when things aren’t so good. What does a “poor me” attitude teach your kids?
Well, I think you can guess that by now.
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Last reviewed: 8 Jun 2009